Torture droids! Everybody loves torture droids!!! Despite being a franchise aimed at kids, every one of the three Star Wars films featured some kind of implied or explicit torture scene. Whether it was Princess Leia getting stuck with needles to give up the Rebel Base or Han Solo getting his face electrically burned off. And if that’s not creepy enough, Hasbro has delivered at least a few figures based on these scenes. But today we’re focused on a couple of the custodians of Jabba’s robot dungeon. And somehow toys based on the torture of robots seems a little less likely to offend the folks at Amnesty International. I loved the designs of these guys, and while I never owned EV-9D9 as a kid, I did have the 8D8 that came with the “Jabba’s Dungeon” playset and he was always a favorite of mine.
This pair of sadistic servoids were released as part of the Freeze Frame sub-line in POTF2. They’re on green cards and each one comes with a slide showing the character in a screen grab. This was a great gimmick, and I always regret not getting that special offer display holder and saving them all. I have bags full of various crappy coins that came with Star Wars figures over the years, but somehow, I never manage to save any of these cool slides. The back panels of the cards show a large clip-out version of the scene on the slide. You also get some shots of other POTF2 goodies.
Let’s start with 8D8. I’ll take this opportunity to point out that my favorite droid designs in the Star Wars films are the ones that couldn’t possibly support actors inside them. I was pretty fascinated with robots when I was a kid and to me having a robot in the movie that wasn’t just a guy in a suit was way cooler, even if they were more puppets than actual robots. 8D8 is one of those designs and that makes him a winner in my book.
The other cool thing about 8D8 is just how damn creepy he looks. His white coloring, exposed “ribcage,” and his thin arms and piston-driven framework legs make him look like some kind of deformed skeleton. He also kind of looks like robot Christopher Lee and he’s got that awesome hunchback configuration that makes him perfect for lurking around a dank dungeon. The sculpting here is particularly good for a POTF2 figure. He doesn’t suffer from the buffed out proportions and basically takes the original vintage Kenner figure and tweaks it in all the right places. 8D8 includes his droid branding device, which comes in two pieces and an articulated lever. It’s a nice piece to display beside him, especially if you have any unruly Gonk Droids lying around.
Next up is EV-9D9, who is another one of those cool robot designs that couldn’t support a human actor and thereby makes my Top Droids of Star Wars list. Like a lot of bit characters in the Star Wars Universe, she’s also got a somewhat involved backstory in the EU that can be traced back to Cloud City. She’s a lot taller than 8D8 and much less creepy looking, but she does feature the same thin arms and legs. She has three beady little yellow eyes, one of which she apparently installed herself to detect the pain levels in droids! My favorite thing about her design in the movie was the little articulated mouth flap. Oddly enough, the vintage Kenner figure translated that into a gimmick on the figure, but the POTF2 version doesn’t attempt it. I also dig that you can turn her head around and she looks like she’s has a new head with giant bug eyes. She also has a screw running up her back in place of a spine. EV-9D9 has a great bronze and black two-tone deco and comes with her console table.
Both droids feature the same five points of articulation. You get rotating heads, shoulders and hips. No big surprises there. Their limbs are pretty rubbery, but both figures can stand fairly well.
While not technically part of Jabba’s Throne Room entourage, these guys are still going to make it into my Jabba display when I put it together. I think I’ll likely just create a little alcove off to the side. For a couple of droids that were only in the film for a few moments, I love these guys a lot more than I have any right to and I’d love to see them given the modern treatment one of these days.